BOUNTIFUL — Whitney Holt gave up a two-run homer in the sixth inning of a key region game.
But instead of unraveling, she focused on her best friend, who just happens to sit behind the plate for Tooele, and got the next three batters out.
Holt's toughness under pressure has only improved as the season progresses, according to her coach.
"Miss Holt gets more mentally tough each game," said Tooele head coach Steve Snow.
Holt said her catcher and BFF is a key component to her confidence.
"She's a big deal for me," said Holt of her catcher Marissa Mendenhall after the Buffalo earned an important 7-3 region win over Bountiful on Wednesday afternoon. "Everything that happens, I know she has my back. She's my best friend and she just calms me."
Mendenhall said Holt's mental toughness makes it easy for her to work with the senior pitcher.
"We fit each other," said the senior catcher, who led the team's offense with a home run and a double. "We even each other out. She always has an upbeat attitude and that makes it easy to work with her."
Tooele needed all of its leaders to be tough Wednesday as the team rebounded from a disastrous showing last week in which they lost to Murray and Woods Cross, the latter of which is a region game.
"They rose to the occasion today," said Snow. "There was a little bump in the road after spring break. ... And the game doesn't care who you are. I thought those were both excellent losses."
Yes, he believes losing can be a good thing for a team.
"I don't think there is such a thing as a bad loss," he said. "You learn more from a loss than you ever learn from winning. Winning makes you lazy and content."
Most humbling was the 17-2 whipping the Spartans gave the formerly top-ranked Buffalo.
"When you take a licking like Murray put on us, it hurts," he said. "It's shameful. And a team of this caliber, it gets their attention."
He said practices have become more intense and focused and the team now realizes they have to work hard every play of every game.
Tooele made some mistakes in Wednesday's win, but when they did, they rebounded quickly.
Bountiful had seven walks, which hurt their ability to gain any ground on the hard-hitting Buffalo squad. Braves' sophomore pitcher Belle Stoddard earned the loss as the starting pitcher, but she earned a two-run homer in the sixth inning to remind teams why Bountiful is so tough to beat.
"Every game we play the rest of the year is intense," said Snow, whose squad will host Bountiful today. "These league games are a must-win."
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company